I find it enjoyable to learn about the traditions of different families.  Families have traditions for various occasions, such as when a new family member comes into the world.  Some families have special traditions to celebrate each person’s birthday or graduation. Traditions, particularly family traditions, are often the threads that help keep a family woven together.  They make us feel like we belong.

This time of year is particularly full of traditions.  Many families like to make certain kinds of foods, perhaps a favorite family recipe. When two people marry, hopefully there is a complimentary blending of traditions from both families, as well as the making of new traditions.

One tradition that has been passed down through the Jensen family during the holiday season is to make sugar cookies.  These aren’t your typical sugar cookies in shapes of Christmas trees and snowmen, but cookies in the shape of animals – an elephant, a cow, a pig and a swan.  These patterns, dating back to the 1870’s,  have been passed down from family to family.

A holiday tradition from the Jackson side of the family is coconut cake and boiled custard. Oh, so good! After we moved to Iowa, we started a new tradition, that of making Dutch Letters, a delicious Dutch pastry.  Since moving to Africa, I’ve not been able to make them every year, because it calls for almond paste.  I have one can of almond paste that I’ve been saving, which I plan to use tomorrow. 🙂 Dutch letters are melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Never mind that the recipe calls for a pound of butter.

I’d love for you to share some of your favorite family traditions. 

As heart warming as they may be, these kinds of traditions are simply human traditions.  They are fun, they are often delicious and they make great memories, but they are not mandatory.  Hopefully I won’t get excommunicated from the family if I fail to make sugar cookies one year.  If so, I’d be in trouble!

There is, however, another kind of tradition that we are required to keep. These are Divine traditions (teachings) set forth in the Scriptures, from God.  “So then, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye were taught, whether by word, or by epistle of ours.”  2 Thess. 2:15.  Whether or not we keep these traditions IS a matter of life and death. On numerous occasions Jesus had to reprimand his fellow Jews because they rejected the commandments of God, in favor of their human traditions.  We must guard against doing the same.

As we all enjoy various family traditions, let’s remember to keep things in proper perspective. What really matters in the grand scheme of things, is our faithfulness in keeping the Divine Traditions; that is, being obedient children of God.